Pure Vita Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.
The Pure Vita product line includes three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
- NutriSource Pure Vita Duck and Oatmeal
- NutriSource Pure Vita Salmon and Potato
- NutriSource Pure Vita Chicken and Brown Rice
NutriSource Pure Vita Duck and Oatmeal was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Pure Vita Duck and Oatmeal Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck, duck meal, oatmeal, barley, sunflower oil, potato protein, flax seed, natural duck flavor, alfalfa, tomato pomace, potassium chloride, carrots, peas, apricots, cherries, cranberries, salt, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, blueberries, glucosamine hydrochloride, turmeric, taurine, chicory extract, lecithin, pomegranate extract, garlic, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), Yucca schidigera extract, chondroitin sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, iron proteinate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, folic acid, calcium iodate, cobalt proteinate, biotin, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtillis fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||14%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||31%||45%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
Which brings us to duck meal, the second and (more likely) the dominant meat ingredient in this dog food.
Duck meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh duck.
The third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The fifth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3′s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.
Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
After the natural duck flavor, we find alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is more commonly associated with cattle feeds, it can still provide healthy nutrients to a dog food.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With five notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Thirdly, we note the use of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Next, this food also contains chelated minerals… minerals that have been chemically attached to amino acids. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are generally found in better dog foods.
And lastly, chicory root is naturally rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Pure Vita Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pure Vita Dog Food appears to be an above-average kibble.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs as compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.
Pure Vita Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using only a moderate amount of poultry or salmon meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.
Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.
To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.
Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.
Notes and Updates
03/21/2010 Original review
10/21/2010 Review updated
03/06/2012 Review updated (minor recipe change)
03/06/2012 Last Update
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩